USC Saturday Buzz: Defense Still Learning

At least Alex Grinch doesn’t try to sugarcoat the defense’s performance this season.

“If you’re not careful, you default to just being OK,” he said. “It pains me to say that that’s where we’ve been the bulk of the year. We’re still learning.”

  • The last time USC played Tulane was in 1946. Even though USC played at Notre Dame on Nov. 30, 1946, the Trojans went to New Orleans three weeks later and played Tulane on Dec. 21. It was USC’s first trip to the South.

USC (in the dark jerseys) defeated the Green Wave, 20-13, as Doug Essick, Johnny Rossetto and Bobby Musick scored TD’s. A crowd of 25,000 attended the game at Tulane Stadium.

Here is how the story looked in the L.A. Times, as USC’s lack of depth because of injuries was highlighted. Tulane actually outgained USC in yards, 372-301.

Note the Times’ sports page also mentions Alex Hannum getting injured but scoring 16 points in the basketball team’s 48-44 victory over Northwestern before 18,000 at Chicago Stadium.

This team had three players — Hannum, Bill Sharman, Tex Winter — get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. So did coach Sam Barry.

  • Of course, my eye went straight the Times’ National Sports Award dinner held at the Biltmore Bowl ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Among those in attendance were legends Grantland Rice (sportswriting), Connie Mack (baseball) and Amos Alonzo Stagg (football). Rams QB Bob Waterfield was also there along with UCLA coach Bert LaBrucherie and Illinois coach Ray Eliot, whose teams played in the Rose Bowl.

Entertainment was provided by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, of course. The picture below is from the 1944 Times’ dinner.


15 thoughts on “USC Saturday Buzz: Defense Still Learning

  1. Grinch’s statement hit the nail on the head, the USC defense is still learning. A bit late in the game for that though. Hard to say how much USC’s defensive problems are directly due to Grinch, versus how much is coming from the guys he inherited, versus how much is that the Pac-12 is so much better this year than people give credit for. There are several excellent QBs in the conference with lots of high-performing offenses. Four of the top 5 offenses in D1 this season were from the Pac-12, and something like 6 out of the top 20 were Pac-12 teams. Urban Meyer thought enough of Grinch to hire him as Ohio St’s D coordinator a few years ago. Hopefully Grinch is still that guy. Fingers crossed that the ’23 team shows substantial improvement. At least try get rid of the arm tackling and over-pursuit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If they’re still learning at this point in the year, then the scheme is too damn complicated. Keep it simple and let your athletes make plays.


    1. Yawn Ricki-Ticki. There’s plenty of time for Andyain’twinning’s to start choking. I mean where’s the beef wins this year? Is it the Long Beach St. victory @ the chicken coop, in front of 1839 bozo fans?

      As usual, the bozos are mugging cupcakes.

      This bozo BB team, version ’22-23, lost to FGCU by 13 points @ the chicken coop.


  2. Watched the Coach Prime series on (amazon, I think) and what struck me was that winning was not good enough. He was only satisfied when every player had the attitude of total domination.

    Dont know if this is the philosophy from Riley-Grinch. It feels like they play down to lesser teams on a regular basis and require Superman to pull it out for them.

    Will be interesting to see how Colorado does this season, if Sanders can deliver in the big leagues.


    1. Windows at the top of the Transamerica building was nice, too. But that’s been gone for 10-12 years now. Glad I took my wife once before they closed.


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